"Red Kids"

The oldest, still existing, covered market in Paris has the surprising name of « Le Marché des Enfants Rouges » (Red Kids). The explanation is the fact that in this area used between 1536 and 1772 to be an orphanage and the kids were dressed in red; red was the colour representing Christian charity.

We are in the northern part of the Marais, which in the 16th century was a newly built area in the expanding Paris. There was a need to open a market and it was created here in 1615. Originally it got the name of “Le Marché du Marais”, but rather soon, with reference to the orphanage and the kids, it became known as the “Marché des Enfants Rouges”.

On a map from 1650 we can see the market and how near it then was to the city limits. We are close to the Temple (Le Temple) (see previous posts).

The market was in private hands until 1912, when it was taken over by the city. It was close to be destructed a few years ago, but was saved thanks to some associations and the inhabitants in the neighbourhood.

One of the side entrances to the market goes via what now is a miniature public park and a little “jardin partagé”, a kitchen-garden where some people share the pleasure of growing herbs, vegetables, flowers… On this little place, called the “Potager des Oiseaux”, a dozen of cows produced, until the beginning of the 19th century, fresh milk to the inhabitants of the vicinity.

The market is quite small, but offers of course what you find in most similar markets.

It’s also a popular place for a lunch or a brunch. It’s closed evenings, so no dinners.

The red colour was later rather referring to communist activities and it may be worth to know that very close and on the same side of the street is a building which once was very much linked to the communist movements. Lenin came here for a meeting in 1909, it was for a while the French Communist Party headquarters and there was a cooperative communist restaurant, where Ho Chi Minh was one of the “managers” in the 1920’s. 


Grand Palais - again

I have already made a few posts about the « Grand Palais », but I thought I must make another one, covering the present event “La France en Relief” (Jan. 18 – Feb. 17). It takes place under the great nave, the part of the “Grand Palais” which is the most spectacular with its large glass roof.

Maybe first a few pictures to remind you of the beauty of the place.

Exposed are a number of “maps”, landscapes in miniature, in relief, manufactured between 1668 and 1873. They were created basically for defense reasons, to be able to imagine how the enemy could attack and to plan how the French could defend their places and territory. For this reason, most of the miniature landscapes are made of cities and fortresses close to the borders and coasts. They proved to be of some value until the experience of the 1870-71 war against the Prussians when the long reaching artillery made the traditional defense organization void.

During the roughly 200 years, some 260 models were made, about 100 have been saved and 26 are permanently exposed at the “Invalides” (see previous post), but this exhibition, showing 16 of them, is an opportunity to draw the attention to the beauty of the work.

Some of the models are really large, up to 160 m² (abt. 17.000 sq ft) and they show not only the defense installations, but also the surroundings, cities, landscapes… with all its details – buildings, roads, trees…

Some landscapes have been updated, e.g. when new ports were constructed, when the railways arrived… of course of highest importance when it comes to military actions.

Everything is showed in a spectacular way; large mirrors, foot-bridges, telescopes… make it possible to study the models in detail and from all angles. The pictures sometimes get a bit confusing… what is mirrored, what is not?

The central floor is covered by a gigantic map of France, obviously representing it in the middle of the 19th century. People walk around looking for their home place, origins… I took a picture of the central cupola and expected to find the centre of France just under it. I checked and when I came home I added the red centre point, just between my feet. I also found the little village, where we once had a country-house. Not surprisingly, there seems to have been more buildings those times than today.

Google Earth is present, offering today’s way of looking on our landscapes. This is how the Strasbourg Cathedral appears with the two respective systems. 


"Ne me quitte pas"

It has been said that it was in this modest bar, “Au Rêve”, on the northern slopes of Montmartre that Jacques Brel wrote one of his most famous songs, “Ne me quitte pas” (Don’t leave me, "If you go away"). He observed the apartment of the young lady Suzanne Gabriello, just in front, on the other side of the little square. (Actually, it seems that he was the one who left her and Brel declared also that “this is not a love song, but a song about the cowardice of men”. )
The song was first registered in 1959. This video shows Jacques singing it at his last performance in Paris at “L’Olympia” in 1966.

Suzanne was an actress and singer, mostly comic, parodying. She was born in 1932 and died in 1992. She’s buried in the Saint Vincent Cemetery, just around the corner. Jacques was born in 1929 and died in 1978. His grave is far away, at one of the Marquesas Islands, where he spent the last years of his life, sick and half retired.
The song has been performed by a number of artists. Here is the Nina Simone version.

... and here are some links to English, German, French versions by Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Julio Eglesias, Sting, Ray Charles, Marlene Dietrich, Celine Dion...

I have already made a post about the small Saint Vincent cemetery. As we can see on the below map it’s situated close to the Montmartre vineyard (see previous posts) and the cabaret "Lapin Agile" (see previous post); we can see the roof behind the wall and the tomb of Maurice Utrillo, who painted the cabaret a number of times. 



My « real » post for today is below, but from a walk yesterday morning I thought I had to show that Paris had this winter's first frost night and that there was just enough of thin ice to support the seagulls. It’s getting warmer again.

A church again...

You may think that I show too much of churches. I basically visit churches only because of their beauty… or for some curiosity.. . and we must not forget that maybe especially the Catholic Church for centuries was one of the main “sponsors” for art of all sorts. There are some 240 churches within the Paris borders, whereof 136 Roman Catholic, 16 Orthodox, 24 synagogues, 29 Lutheran / Reformed, 20 mosques… So far, after almost five years of blogging, I have “only” posted about some 40 = some modest 17%, so I guess I’m allowed to post about a few more? :-) 
This one, Notre-Dame-de-Clignancourt, has at a first sight nothing particular, but…

... once you have looked behind the altar and walked up a few steps, you will find a beautiful chapel, the Chapel of the Virgin. On its altar is a statue of the Virgin, made by the same sculptor who has decorated the Medici Fountain (see previous post) in the Luxembourg Gardens (Auguste-Louis Ottin).

One curiosity is that the passage to the Chapel is decorated by two paintings by Nélie Jacquemart. Her name is of course linked to the Jacquemart-Andrée Museum (see previous post). She was a well-known painter, who one day portrayed her future, extremely wealthy husband, Edouard Andrée. No children, their home was bequeathed to the French Institute and opened to public, presenting their fabulous collection of paintings by Fragonard, Botticelli, Canaletto, Rembrandt….  Unfortunately the paintings here in the church are rather impossible to photograph (angle, light…). Sorry!
The church in a neo-roman style dates from 1863. Clignancourt was a village, part of the Montmartre commune – integrated into Paris in 1860. Until they got this church, the inhabitants had to walk up the hill, to the top of Montmartre to find the Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre church (see previous posts), neighbor to Sacré-Coeur, which didn’t yet exist – finished only in 1914. The Notre-Dame-de-Clignancourt  is opposite to the Town Hall of the 18th arrondissement and we can distinguish Sacré-Coeur in the background. Maurice Utrillo painted the church several times, this one in 1914.

Well, the rest of the church has also some nice decorations, including the stained glass windows, created later, during the 1930’s,  a Pieta....


Palais Royal ... again - a new theatre

There is a change in the gardens of Palais Royal, on which I have already posted several times (see here and here). I have there also referred to the Théatre Français / La Comédie Française. What’s happening now is that the 18th century theatre building will be renovated over a longer period and in the meantime, a temporary wooden building has been built. It has been placed between the newly refurbished colonnades of the Galeries d’Orléans, which actually already previously used to be covered, until around 1930, being a shopping gallery. The temporary theatre will hold some 750 places.

Here is a view of how the Galeries d’Orléans looked, “naked”.

The now famous Buren columns are obviously differently used by girls and boys.

Some seagulls were patiently waiting, until… Here is also a proof that birds can’t read (Pélouse interdite = Get off the grass).

The exceptionally (relatively) mild weather helps roses not only to survive, but there are also some buds.


Buildings with history

The nice building where the main entrance now leads to a super-market – and where one of the side entrances lead to a rather newly, by David Lynch, opened club (“Silencio”), used to be the successive homes of some leading newspapers. We are rue Montmartre which with the neighbor streets used to be the “Wall Street area” of Paris (see previous post). Before the present building, there was a market here and even before that, a cemetery where Molière was buried, before he much later was brought to the Père Lachaise Cemetery (see previous post).

The building is especially known for a specific event linked to the enormous “Dreyfus Affair”, a political scandal which divided French opinions in the 1890s and the early 1900s. Captain Alfrèd Dreyfus was erroneously condemned for treason with the (German) enemy in 1894 and sent to solitary confinement in French Guiana. It was later made clear that all the accusations were false, inspired by anti-Semitist feelings, false documents… What really started to make things change was an article written by Emile Zola, published January 13, 1898, by the newspaper which then occupied the premises, “L’Aurore”.  Emile Zola presented his manuscript to the owner and the editor of “L’Aurore”, Georges Clemenceau, and it was published - addressed to the French President, Félix Faure - on the front page the following day. Emile Zola was prosecuted for this article, condemned and spent some time in England to avoid imprisonment.  
There is a lot to be said about Emile Zola. I have posted about his involvement in what was to become the impressionism (here), about his tomb at the Montmartre Cemetery (here), which was his place of rest before he was brought to the Pantheon (see previous post). ... but if you really want to learn something about him, especially about the author he was, you could go here.
Georges Clemenceau had also a rich life between being a medical doctor, journalist, politician, Prime Minister, a major voice designing the Treaty of Versailles after WWI…, nicknamed “The Tiger”, “Father Victory”….  Again, if you wish, go here for further reading.

Alfred Dreyfus could return to France after five years, but it took considerable time and several trials before he was completely exonerated. He spent his last years in the building you can see below (17th arrdt.) and his grave is at the Montparnasse Cemetery (see previous post). To read more about him, you can go here.

Neighbour to the previous newspaper building is a bar, a restaurant, which those days used to be full of journalists, printers…
The bar, “Le Croissant”,   became famous in 1914, when a leading French politician, Jean Jaurès, was shot down here. He was killed July 29, 1914. The day before, what was to become WWI had opened with the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. The day after, the German Empire started to mobilize and three days later France did the same…  
Jaurès was well-known as a pacifist and antimilitarist (and pro-Dreyfus), one of the leaders of the socialist movements. He was also the founder – in 1904 - and until his death the boss of the daily socialist newspaper “L’Humanité”. (“L’Humainté” still exists, but is since 1920 the official voice of the Communist Party.)  He had made a lot of efforts to avoid the war. It was a time of mixed feelings, pro-war, anti-war. The man who shot him down, while he - after having finished his job at the nearby newspaper – enjoyed his dessert, was a young pro-war nationalist.
Also Jaurès was brought to the Pantheon - ten years after his death. If you want further details about Jean Jaurès, you can go here.
Today, the bar is still there. It’s an ordinary bar, but you can find a plate on the wall and, inside, some “souvenirs” in a glass-case.